Shola Ameobi

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

 

Shola Ameobi is hoping to use his European experience to good effect on Thursday night, and fire Newcastle United into the last 16 of the Europa League.

The Magpies are in Ukraine ahead of their Europa League Round of 32 second-leg fixture away at Metalist Kharkiv, with the tie firmly in the balance after a goalless first leg on Tyneside.

Ameobi, who has been plying his trade in United's first team for more than 12 years, was part of the side which suffered a 2-0 Champions League defeat at Ukranian outfit Dynamo Kyiv in September 2002.

And the long-serving striker is more than happy to act as a father figure to the rookies in Newcastle's ranks.

"We're here (Ukraine) again and we want to make an impact," Ameobi told nufc.co.uk.

"I've been to this country before and been in plenty of European games in my time. You go about your business normally and hopefully the younger players look at you and do what you do.

"It's important in this tie that we help the younger lads in the team cope with the pressures, by talking to them and giving them advice and encouragement.

"As a young lad somewhere like this you want to feel like your teammates have got your back, and that is a role I am more than happy to play.

"It's going to be hostile, we know that, and we really have to step up to the plate and play our best.

"As we saw last week, Metalist are a good side, and they could cause us a few problems if we're not right at it.

"Hopefully though we play a mature game and really take it to them."

Manager Alan Pardew took a strong squad out to Kharkiv, with the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Fabricio Coloccini, Moussa Sissoko and Papiss Cisse all on the plane.

And Ameobi believes that is an indication of just how seriously Newcastle are treating the Europa League.

"It's a realistic chance of winning  trophy, and victory here woul keep the season alive on the European front, which is what we all want," he said.

"The Europa League is a big tournament that we have to try and win. We have brought a strong squad out here, which shows our intentions.

"We don't want to just fall by the wayside, and the fans who have travelled all the way out here don't want to see us do that either.

"You go into every game wanting to do well and win, and it's no different out here. We are fully expecting to get through this tie."

Stay logged on to nufc.co.uk throughout the day and night for team news, a minute-by-minute report of the Europa League fixture, photos and reaction.